Leader of labor union resigns after controversial Petit ad relea - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Leader of labor union resigns after controversial Petit ad released

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William Petit (AP Images) William Petit (AP Images)
(Labor United for Connecticut) (Labor United for Connecticut)

Following a controversial ad that paired Cheshire home invasion survivor with Donald Trump, the labor union leader that released the ad resigned.

On Thursday, the SEIU Connecticut State Council released a statement saying they “accepted Paul Filson’s resignation as Executive Director of the council.”

On Wednesday, the digital ad was spotted online. The campaign advertisement paired Dr. William Petit with Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump.

Dr. William Petit is on the Republican ticket and looking to represent Connecticut's 22nd District, which covers Plainville and New Britain.

The ad from Labor United for Connecticut that began popping up on digital platforms called for voters to "stop Donald Trump and Republican William Petit's attack on women and families."

It ended by urging people to vote on Nov. 8.

Petit's wife and two daughters were murdered by two convicted felons in 2007, both of which are in prison for the crimes. He announced his candidacy during the spring.

Trump has been on the receiving end of some sharp criticism after a number of woman came forward in recent weeks to claim he sexually assaulted them.

On Wednesday, Petit, his opponent in the district and local leaders reacted to the ad that put the two candidates together.

"I am horrified by the tasteless and offensive attack ad against my opponent," said Rep. Betty Boukus "It was produced by a third party with no connection to my campaign, without my knowledge, and without the involvement of anyone associated with my campaign. I am asking those responsible to pull the ad and issue an apology to Dr. Petit and his family."

Filson held the position for 15 years and was also the treasurer for Labor United for Connecticut, and worked with a New York consulting firm to create and approve that controversial ad. The SEIU told Eyewitness News they have also gotten rid of that New York consulting firm.

The SEIU said that ad ran in other districts.

The SEIU State Council released a statement that said, “Because of regulations inherent to independent expenditures we, as an organization, are not permitted to know the content that is distributed on behalf of those political efforts.  Campaign finance laws are explicitly clear that there cannot be any coordination between our organization and that of Labor United for Connecticut.  Therefore, our organizations were not in a position to vet, approve or even be made aware of the digital ad that ran in Dr. Petit’s district.  However, once the ad became public yesterday it was clear it was not reflective of our locals’ or SEIU’s standard and it should have never taken place.  We offer our sincere apology to Dr. Petit and feel strongly this ad should have never run in his district under any circumstances.  It is extremely regrettable that such poor judgment was exhibited by those tasked with running the independent expenditure and we have taken action to remove those responsible from the campaign. Additionally, SEIU Connecticut State Council accepted Paul Filson’s resignation as Executive Director of the council.  This election offers clear differences in the path for Connecticut and our nation and it is our hope these campaigns will be issue based.”

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